The flight is unprecedented. 3.283 million Americans registered unemployed in one week. This figure exceeds the surge in unemployment benefit requests that followed the great financial crisis of 2008, when the economy is at a standstill, in particular services, the main providers of jobs: restaurants, shops, schools , transport, hairdressing salons, museums, dentists.
The figure was released at 8:30 a.m.New York time on Thursday by the federal Department of Labor. It covers the week ending March 21 when the coronavirus crisis economically paralyzed the United States. It marks an increase of 3 million more jobless claims compared to the previous week, which had registered 282,000 new claims, according to figures from the labor office.
This crisis puts an end to an uninterrupted rise in employment for 113 months, having led to the creation of 22 million jobs (out of an active population of 165 million Americans). The unemployment rate in February was 3.5%, a level never seen since the late 1960s. Participation in employment was increasing satisfactorily, given the aging of the population. The unemployment rate could quickly exceed the 10.8% reached in 1982, at the end of the recession caused by the Iranian revolution of 1979 and the fight of the Federal Reserve against inflation. Unemployment had reached 9.9% in 2009, at the worst of the financial crisis.
The job market is mixed, with companies on standby, such as General Electric, which is going to sell 2,500 people, or Ford. But the giants of the distribution (remote or not) or the pharmacy like Amazon, Walmart or CVS want to hire 500,000 people.
Faced with the influx of unemployment registrations, local governments are seeking to recruit, for example in Illinois, Louisiana or Massachusetts. Their computer servers have sometimes failed due to the influx of requests. Registration is essential for Americans to receive unemployment insurance.
This will play an unprecedented role in this crisis. The Senate voted Wednesday night to Thursday a package of $ 2,000 billion in aid to the economy, including $ 250 billion in new federal unemployment insurance.
"What most Americans want is to keep their jobs. »Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury.
"If you were laid off, you will receive 600 dollars more per week" for four months, said progressive Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. For the first time, workers with self-employed status, such as Uber drivers, will be eligible. This sum will complement the 200 to 550 dollars paid each week by the federated states for a period of three to seven months. On average, at the end of 2019, this coverage was $ 368 per week, or 45% of the last salary.
This measure has long been debated on Wednesday, March 25 in the evening, four Republican senators challenging a system that would allow some to earn more unemployment than by working, encouraging Americans to quit their job. "I don't think it will create negative incentives"said Steven Mnuchin, the Secretary of the Treasury. "What most Americans want is to keep their jobs. "
In addition, there is direct intervention of $ 500 billion from the United States Treasury. Households will receive a check for $ 1,200 per person, provided they earn less than $ 75,000 per year for one person, and $ 150,000 for a couple, as well as $ 500 per child. The measure, declining beyond, allows to give immediate purchasing power to households, many of which are deprived of their work overnight. It must be paid within three weeks, according to Mnuchin.